Kentucky Trying to Peak in Time for Postseason
Off the bubble for the time being, the Kentucky Wildcats close the regular season with four winnable games, including Wednesday’s SEC affair at the Florida Gators.
The Wildcats solidified their NCAA Tournament standing by knocking off No. 10 Tennessee for the second time Saturday, but any slip-up could prove costly.
The emergence of Chris Livingston, who followed up a 13-point, five-rebound, three-assist game against Mississippi State with his first career double-double vs. Tennessee to earn SEC Freshman of the Week, has been shot in the arm for Kentucky.
“The way he’s playing now, people coming back are going to be fighting for minutes because he needs to be on the court,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari told the media of Livingston, a 6-6, 240-pound wing out of Akron. “He was doing it in practice and then you got to have a demonstrated performance in the game. He’s now that guy.”
Any chance of the Gators getting on a roll and winning the SEC Tournament to qualify for the big dance took a hit when Colin Castleton, who leads the team in scoring and rebounds and is second in assists, went down with a broken hand last week.
The first game without the senior was a 19-point drubbing at the hands of Arkansas, which left the Gators at .500 in the SEC and one game above it overall.
Freshman guard Riley Kugel, who has scored in double figures in four straight games, should get more of an opportunity as a result of Castleton’s injury.
“It’s a difficult thing to have to overcome at this point in the season,” Florida coach Todd Golden told the media of Castleton’s injury. “At the same time, it’s an opportunity for a lot of guys to step up, guys who haven’t had the same opportunity early in the year.”
Let’s check the latest college basketball news, stats, injury reports and college basketball lines for Kentucky vs Florida. We’ve got plenty of NCAA basketball picks for you to consider.
Wallace Running Points
Cason Wallace has been a regular contributor all season for the Wildcats, but the freshman has taken over the role of point guard in the last few games.
The Dallas native, who is filling in for Sahvir Wheeler, who has missed the last four games with an ankle injury, had a career-high 11 assists and just one turnover against Mississippi State prior to posting 16 points, six rebounds and six assists, going 33 minutes of game time without a turnover against Tennessee.
“He is such a great kid. He takes all the shots I throw at him. Doesn’t phase him,” Calipari told the media of Wallace, who is averaging 11.8 points, 4.1 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists. “He’s a better shooter than he is shooting right now.”
Wallace’s only weakness is his shooting as he tends to run hot and cold, including going 9-for-35 and missing his 15 attempts from 3-point territory in the last three games.
Szymczyk Finally Seeing Floor
Aleks Szymczyk, a 6-10 forward from Germany, waited until mid-February to get his first opportunity at extended playing time for the Gators and he didn’t waste it.
The freshman put up eight points, six rebounds and four steals in 20 minutes of action against Arkansas, laying a foundation for the rest of this and next season.
Szymczyk missed most of the offseason workouts as he made his way from Munich to Gainesville but has put in extra work after practice in an effort to play catch up.
“You’re not going to find many guys that last longer on the floor than he does after practice in terms of getting additional work in,” Golden told the media. “And he spends a lot of time in the weight room. We’re going to ride with him down the stretch.”
Kentucky vs Florida Game Injuries
Kentucky vs Florida Head-to-Head
Kentucky’s 72-67 win over Florida on Feb. 4 was its third straight victory and eighth win in the last nine games in the series. The Wildcats have won four straight at Florida.
Kentucky vs Florida Game Information
- Game: Kentucky (18-9, 9-5 SEC) vs Florida (14-13, 7-7)
- Location: Exactech Arena, Gainesville, FL
- Day/Time: Wednesday, Feb. 22, 7:00 p.m. ET
- Kentucky vs Florida Live stream: TBS.com
Kentucky vs Florida Betting Lines
Kentucky vs Florida Picks and Prediction
The Wildcats, who are 2-4 against the spread (ATS) as a road favorite, are giving 3 points on the college basketball lines. The Gators are 3-0 as a home underdog ATS.
Kentucky has won six of the last seven ATS in the series and seven of the last nine meetings with Florida have finished under the total points.
Kentucky is listed at -160 in our Las Vegas College basketball odds. This means that if you wager $100 on the Wildcats, you have a chance to win $63. Florida is +140, offering a chance to win $140 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Kentucky a 61.54% chance to win, with the Gators 41.67%.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.